Geology 555

GEOL 555

Catalog Entry

GEOL 555. Principles of Engineering Geology
Three hours lecture; three hours laboratory (4).

Prerequisite: Graduate standing, eight hours of geology, and mathematics through trigonometry. Minimum of one semester of physics is strongly recommended.

Taught concurrently with GEOL 455 with additional project requirements for graduate credit.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The primary emphasis of this course is to develop in students an understanding of the application of geologic data collection techniques and principles to the study of rock and soil materials, and to some extent groundwater, so that the geologic factors affecting the design, construction, and maintenance of engineering projects are known. Topics include:


1 Introduction, Engineering Geology Defined
2 Soil vs. Bedrock
3 Soil Classification
4 Phase Diagrams, Soil Properties, Compaction
5 Effective Stress, Ground-water, Permeability
6 Soil Strength
7 Soil Strength & Consolidation
8 Engineering Properties of Rock, Aggregates
9 Physical Subsurface Investigations
10 Building Foundations
11 Highway Geology
12 Blasting
13 Slope Stability
14 Grouting, Engineering Geology of Urban Areas
15 Student Presentations

Specific work required for graduate credit includes additional projects and/or papers beyond the normal course activities.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course combines classroom lecture with laboratory investigations and practical problem solving exercises. Video tape and slide presentations are utilized to provide visual examples of engineering geologic case histories and technical procedures. A minimum of one field trip is planned to provide additional practical experience. Students are required to complete a research project and offer the results in the format of either a professional paper or a professional oral presentation. Graduate students are required to complete a more extensive research project or additional projects and to present the results in the format of either professional papers or oral presentations.


Goals and Objectives of Course

(1) Students will understand the application of geologic principles and procedures to the engineering design and performance of manmade structures on and in the earth.
(2) Students will acquire knowledge of actual career working conditions and employer expectations.
(3) Students will be required to exhibit professional quality work.


Assessment Measures


  • 3 lecture tests (100 pts each) = 300 pts
  • 10 lab and homework exercises = 100 pts
  • 1 or more research projects = 100 pts
  • and presentations ______
  • 500 pts total

Final grades will be based on the percentage of points earned by the student out of the 500 possible points. The lecture tests consist of essay and short answer questions along with practical geologic and engineering problems testing students' knowledge base in engineering geology. The laboratory and homework assignments will assess skill levels in industry standards of analysis. The research project/s will assess the students' thoughtful application of principles to a practical situation and their ability to report results in the format of the Bulletin of the Association of Engineering Geologists.


Other Course Information

(1) This course is one of the core courses required for the Master of Science in Engineering Geosciences.
(2) This course is usually taught in the evening. Working professionals are encouraged to take this class to enhance their understanding of the interactions between the works of man and the natural world.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

Date Action Reviewed by
March 1999